We all enjoy our international holidays. We pack our bags, rush to the airport, catch our flight and relax as the plane takes off. But, you and fellow travelers might be bringing countless extra passengers, microscopic in size, on board: they might be hiding in clothes, on skin, in luggage, and even in the food on the plane. Who are they? The humble household dust mite! These hitchhikers thank us for the free ride to new climes.
The great dust mite and allergen migration is taking place every day
They have traveled the whole world thanks to ships and airplanes. According to a recent study by the University of Michigan, dust mites and many other microscopic entities have been using long distance transport to populate new areas and interact with other organisms. It is estimated that 65 million people world-wide suffer as a direct result of dust mites.
Of course, you don’t even need to travel internationally to come in touch with mites and their allergens. Try a hotel room or a motel room or a carpeted mall or an exhibition hall or even a movie theater. Anywhere there are soft furnishings (sofas, upholstery, beds and carpets) will be a hotbed for dust mites. You have little or no control over your environment in these places. Carpets in particular are a haven for allergens. Managements take exception to removal of carpets, or the replacement of their plush cinema chairs with plastic ones. Even using a protective allergen-proof mattress cover in hotels or motels is often impracticable.
What are you to do to keep your allergies at bay while traveling or in public places?
Dust mites’ droppings and broken down dead pieces can be a source of absolute misery to people traveling with dust mite allergy. Air borne particles are insidious in their nature, and anything we can do to reduce the risk is evidently worthwhile.
There are few ways to combat dust mites, pollen, or pet dander while traveling.
One effective measure is wearing a certified N95 mask. These respirators filter 95% or more of anything greater than 0.3 microns. This is more than enough to keep out the dust mite allergens, pollen, and even the smaller pet dander and mold. Don’t confuse them with surgical masks: the performance of surgical masks is highly variable, hence we don’t recommend them for protection against allergens.
But who wants to sit on an airplane or go to the movies wearing a mask anyway?
An innovative, more discreet alternative to N95 masks are allergy nose filters. They work by fitting into each nostril a holder that incorporates a replaceable filter. To the casual observer, they are invisible. They strain the air we breathe by trapping pollen, dust, pet hair, and dander. Typically, nose filters use a fine mesh to keep allergens out, with the most effective ones incorporating an additional electrostatic filter.
Many users report that they can wear these nasal filters even while sleeping, and that they are not easily dislodged by sneezing.
So if masks are not your thing, nose filters might be an option. They are flexible and discreet, and fit almost any nostril shape and size. Travel and breathe easy, knowing that you can keep the bugs out of the air you breath.